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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















The Iconoclast

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Quiz time again.

Answer: Nabokov. So what's new?

What was the question, and how the bloody hell did we take so long (17 posts) to get at the answer?

More here.

Posted on 07/11/2007 4:01 PM by Mary Jackson

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Pre Londonistan areas of London where foreign communities lived in the Middle Ages gave their name to what are now modern streets or buildings, Petty France, Scotland Yard, St Clement Danes and Little Britain.

This sign is on the side of St Botolph's Church, next to the Postman's Park and opposite the Museum of London.

Posted on 07/11/2007 1:46 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A reader recently told me, "live [sic] can very well be enjoyed and procreation and providing for your familie and friends are very good reasons to live and to do so in freedom without anyone telling how you should live" I responded that what he was describing is an animal level of living. Here is exhibit A:

Posted on 07/11/2007 11:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Daily Mail: A new BBC documentary shows a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Queen including her storming out of a photo shoot after being asked to remove her crown.

In A Year With The Queen, cameramen captured the astonishing moment after having unprecedented access to the royals for a year.

The programme shows the Queen falling out with photographer Annie Leibovitz who sizes up the Queen in her full regalia and says: "I think it would look better without the crown, less dressy."

The Queen retorts: "Dressy? What do you think this is?" She walks out grumbling: "I'm not changing anything, I've had enough, thank you very much."

At least the picture above came out nicely.

Posted on 07/11/2007 11:36 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Khalis, Iraq - As the US military continues to move through Diyala Province to uproot Al Qaeda fighters hidden amid its villages, an emerging foe may be helping to erode many of the successes the Americans are having in the three-week-old operation "Arrowhead Ripper." --from the article, "US faced with Iraqi Army turncoats," CSM

This was all perfectly foreseeable; this was all foreseen. Once Saddam Hussein's regime was deposed, all else followed: the sectarian and ethnic splits, the attempts by all sides in Iraq to inveigle more and still more -- money, weapons, military actions by American soldiers against the enemies now of this group or faction, now of that. It should not have been a surprise. It did not depend on what Bremer did or did not do, or how many troops arrived when. It was perfectly comprehensible, if one understood the tenets, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam, and the particular sectarian and ethnic makeup and history of modern Iraq. That was all it was necessary to know. It is still all that one need know.

But it's all been one surprise after another for those in the Bush Administration who presume to know what they are doing, who presume to instruct and protect us.

Posted on 07/11/2007 11:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Discover magazine runs a feature named "Save the Date," listing odd events and celebrations around the world.  This month brings a particularly rich crop.  Who knew about the Redneck Games, held in East Dublin, Ga., on July 7?
 
"Events include the hubcap hurl, Dumpster Dive, Bobbing for Pigs' Feet, and the Mudpit Belly Flop."
 
[Note to editor:  Can we send someone to cover this next year?]
 
Then there was the world championships of wife carrying in Sonkajarvi, Finland:  "Forty men race over 250 meters of obstacles, including a pool, each carrying his wife."  In Pamplona, Spain, there was a Running of the Nudes on July 5.  Still to come are the Mid-Atlantic Hermit Crab Challenge in Virginia Beach, the Nothing Festival in Telluride, Co. (watch the sun rise and set), the Fiesta of the Near-Death Experience in Neves, Spain ("Throngs of those claiming to have had brushes with death are carried by friends and relatives in coffins through a procession that follows an effigy of Santa Marta...").  Then of course, at the end of the month, the European Beard and Mustache Championship. 
 
And to think we used to call this the Silly Season!
Posted on 07/11/2007 11:18 AM by John Derbyshire

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
In my NRO Summer Books selections, I said I probably wouldn't be opening any of the recent batch of hate-God books, since I already knew what I would find, but that if I did venture into them I would go for Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, just because I so much admire Dawkins books on evolutionary biology.
 
Well, biologist David Sloan Wilson has changed my mind.  In a long piece in Skeptic magazine, he argues convincingly that Dawkins is all wet on the evolutionary background to religious belief.
 
This isn't as surprising as it seems—that an evolutionary biologist should be all wet on evolutionary psychology, I mean.  The two groups have a long history—David Sloan Wilson gives some of it in the piece—of not seeing eye to eye.  Evolutionary biologists seek to explain why this or that feature of living things—typically structural (why does this mammal have a long neck?)—arose through natural selection.  They use the fossil record to buttress their explanations.
 
Evolutionary psychologists seek to extend the explanatory realm into behavior.  This is a much tougher area in which to get supporting evidence for your theories.  Behavior doesn't leave fossils.  (Except, sort of, in the genome—but we are only beginning to scratch the surface of that.)  The evol-psych people have always been open to Stephen Jay Gould's taunt that they engage in "just-so stories"—plausible little narratives to explain this or that behavior, for which there isn't, and can't even in principle be be, any evidence.
 
In fact, as Wilson's article makes clear, there are good evol-psych methodologies that go way beyond "just-so stories," and deserve respect.  Wilson himself has applied them to religious belief, with interesting results. Dawkins (he says) is pretty much ignorant of all this work, and in The God Delusion has just let his own prejudices off the leash, without a proper inquiry into the evol-psych side of things.
Posted on 07/11/2007 11:15 AM by John Derbyshire

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Reading Ayaan Hisi Ali's book, Infidel, has given me a lot more insight into the issue of FGM and how it is justified by Islam. AP is running a story this morning on how London police are trying ot raise awareness without the help of feminist organizations.

LONDON - Female genital mutilation, commonly associated with parts of Africa and the Middle East, is becoming a growing problem in Britain despite efforts to stamp it out. London's Metropolitan Police, Britain's largest police force, hopes a campaign beginning on Wednesday will highlight that the practice is a crime here.

To make their point, police are offering a $40,000 reward for information leading to Britain's first prosecution for female genital mutilation, Detective Chief Superintendent Alastair Jeffrey said...

We have had at least one prosecution in the US.

Arranging or carrying out the procedure — in Britain or abroad — is a criminal offense punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but no one has been prosecuted since it was banned under British law in 2003, Jeffrey said. Police estimate up to 66,000 girls in Britain face the risk of genital mutilation.

"The timing of this campaign is for one good reason: so we can get in before the summer holidays, a time when young girls are taken abroad and subjected to genital mutilation," he told a news conference Tuesday...

Between 100 million and 140 million women are believed to have been subjected to the practice in Africa and an additional 3 million girls face the threat of female genital mutilation every year, according to UNICEF...

Posted on 07/11/2007 10:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
The archives contain a discussion of the clerihew by John Derbyshire. Ideally the first word should be a tripartite proper name that can legitimately be read as two dactyls. Masterpieces of the genre can be found in a "slim volume" by John Hollander and Anthony Hecht, with excellent contributions by others, less famous, as well. I know exactly where that volume is, but I'm just now in a different state... of existence, so have no dazzling examples to present. However, here's a good name for clerihew-composing purposes -- a name from the archives: Walter Clay Lowdermilk. Google that name, and his place of birth, "Liberty, North Carolina," and you will find out more about Walter Clay Lowdermilk, which will help in composing your own clerihew. A while ago (Columbus Day, 2004) I let drop on-line that my own regimen for staying steady was "composing clerihews, Kundalini yoga, Kripke S5 modal logic, and a stiff drink before dinner." I wasn't, alas, telling the full truth. In fact, I was merely mollycoddling the fibber mcgee in me. You've forced me to 'fess up.
Posted on 07/11/2007 8:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Senior U.S. intelligence officials tell ABC News new intelligence suggests a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.
The White House has convened an urgent multi-agency meeting for Thursday afternoon to deal with the new threat. --from The Blotter

Yet we are told we "owe" the Iraqis and must, therefore, admit hundreds of thousands -- or in one case, someone suggested "up to two million" Muslims -- who would require endless monitoring, and no doubt could have many real or potential sympathizers with, and at least some members of, Al Qaeda or a dozen other groups, or no particular group at all but the exact same worldview as Al Qaeda or Jund al-Shams or Hamas or Hezbollah or Lashkar Jihad or Jaish al-Mahdi or [fill in here your favorite group, or with such lexical building blocks as "Islam" and "Sunna" and "Jaish" and "Lashkar" and "Allah" and "Hizb" make up your very own Islamic terrorist group, and you'll be off to the races]. Our government goes into a frenzy, holds special inter-agency meetings, because it believes a "small group" of Al Qaeda members may be heading this way. Does it not realize that "small groups," and much larger groups, of Al Qaeda supporters and even members, present or potential in the future, is already here, and that like the guerrillas swimming in the sea of the people, in Mao's phrase, these terrorist groups swim in the sea of whatever population of Muslims may be present -- swim in that sea, are held up, buoyantly, by that sea. And without that sea, would not be able to survive.

Posted on 07/11/2007 8:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Scott Johnson writes over at Powerline:

I disussed one of the many lowlights of the Live Earth festivities over the weekend in "Islam sings." I quoted the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens -- Yusuf Islam -- who performed in Hamburg, Germany:

"The Jews seem neither to respect God nor his creation. Their own holy books contain the curse of God brought upon them by their prophets on account of their disobedience to Him and mischief in the earth. We have seen the disrespect for religion displayed by those who consider themselves to be 'God's chosen people.'"

Andrew Bostom writes to explicate Mr. Islam's discourse on the Jews:

Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, the name he assumed upon converting to Islam, was simply quoting Koran in these antisemitic remarks: Koran 2:61/3:112, the Koranic curse for disobeying Allah and slaying the prophets (which is updated with flawless logic in the canonical hadith wherein the Jews poison Muhammad, leading to the Muslim prophet’s prolonged and painful death as well); Koran 5:64, which Abbas quoted in Gaza before his Fatah faction was defeated and removed from Gaza by Hamas, accuses the Jews of spreading corruption on earth, sort of an ancient antecedent to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and the Koran also mocks the Jews claim to be Allah's chosen people: The Jews wronged themselves (16:118) by losing faith (7:168) and breaking their covenant (5:13). The Jews (echoing an ante-Nicaean, Marcionite polemic) are a nation that has passed away (2:134; repeated in 2:141). Twice Allah sent his instruments (the Assyrians/or Babylonians, and Romans) to punish this perverse people (17:4-5)-their dispersal over the earth is proof of Allah's rejection (7:168). The Jews are further warned about both their arrogant claim that they remain Allah's chosen people (62:6), and continued disobedience and "corruption" (5:32-33).

I go into great detail about all this in my forthcoming book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, but I provided a summary here. It is time for all of us to state clearly for the larger public consumption the ultimate Koranic and other "sacred" Islamic text sources of these hateful motifs which those like Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam espouse proudly as indicators of their piety. Only then will the oublic begin to understand the profundity of the threat we are facing.

Dr. Bostom also has an article called "Medical Madmen" in the New York Daily News today.

Posted on 07/11/2007 7:50 AM by Rebecca Bynum

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Die in Prison.
Four men convicted of the 21 July bomb plot have been imprisoned for life, with a minimum tariff of 40 years each.
Muktar Ibrahim, 29, Yassin Omar, 26, Ramzi Mohammed, 25, and Hussain Osman, 28, were found guilty on Monday.
Their plot to detonate explosives on three Tube trains and a bus in 2005 was a "viable...attempt at mass murder," said judge Mr Justice Fulford QC.
Two other men - Manfo Kwaku Asiedu and Adel Yahya - face a retrial after the first jury failed to reach a verdict.
Mr Justice Fulford QC said the failed attacks were clearly connected with the bombings that killed 52 people in London two weeks earlier.
"What happened on July 7 in 2005 is of considerable relevance to this sentencing.
"I have no doubt that they were both part of an al-Qaeda-inspired and controlled sequence of attacks," he said.
He added they had designed the plot for "maximum impact" and had carried it out "with their eyes wide open".
None of the men could be considered for release for 40 years, he said during sentencing at Woolwich Crown Court.
The rest from the BBC is here.
Posted on 07/11/2007 5:51 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Has the marketing scheme to designate a patch of the Village "Little Britain" come a cropper? The NY Sun has the story here.

Greenwich Avenue between 12th and 13th streets. A proposal to name the area 'Little Britain' has sparked fierce emotions. Photo by Heuichul Kim

Posted on 07/11/2007 5:39 AM by Robert Bove

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

In this documentary by Marc Levin (not to be confused with Mark LeVine) called Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

I haven't had time to watch more than a bit of it yet, so I don't know if it's related to the growth of Islam and the Left's hatred of Israel, as in the UK.

I've heard that the Nation of Islam - not proper Muslims I know - is antisemitic.

Posted on 07/11/2007 4:39 AM by Mary Jackson

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
THE Iraqi port city of Basra, already prey to a nasty turf war between rival militia factions, has now been gripped by a scary rumour – giant badgers are stalking the streets by night, eating humans.
The animals were allegedly released into the area by British forces.
Local farmers have caught and killed several of the beasts, but this has done nothing to dispel the rumour.
Iraqi scientists have attempted to calm things down. However, the story has spread like wildfire in the streets of the city and the villages round about.
Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, director of Basra's veterinary hospital, has inspected the corpses of several badgers and tries to reassure Iraqis that the animals are not a new post-war arrival in the region.
“These animals appeared before the fall of the regime in 1986. They are known as Al-Ghirayri and locally as Al-Girta,” he told AFP. “Talk that this animal was brought by the British forces is incorrect and unscientific.”
Not everybody is convinced.
“I believe this animal appeared following a raid to the region by the British forces,” said Ali Mohsen, a farmer in his 40s from Karmat Ali, near the air base used by the multinational force. “As we are close to the airport, they probably released this animal into the area.”
British troops have been based in Basra . . . also have to battle the Iraqi rumour mill, as locals are quick to blame them for almost any calamity that befalls the area – including an apparent plague of vicious badgers with long claws and powerful jaws.
British army spokesman Major David Gell said the animals were thought to be a kind of honey badger – melivora capensis – which can be fierce but are not usually dangerous to humans unless provoked. The honey badger, or ratel, is known as a brave predator capable of killing a cobra. It weighs up to 14kg.
 “I was sleeping at night when this strange animal hit me on my head. I have not seen such an animal before. Well you married him Luv. My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer,” Suad Hassan, a 30-year-old housewife said. “It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey. It runs so quickly.”
Sattar Jabbar, a 50-year-old local farmer from Abu Sakhar north of Basra, believes the badger can tackle even large prey. “I saw it three days ago at night attacking animals. It even ate a cow. It tore the cow up piece by piece. I tried to shoot it with my gun but it ran away into the orchards. I missed it,” he said.

Posted on 07/11/2007 4:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

This Beverly Hills pad, which would set you back a mere $165m (£81.4m - the exchange rate is good but not that good) has 29 bedrooms, three swimming pools, tennis courts, its own cinema and a nightclub. There's no mention of a library, but why would you need books when you've got your own nightclub?
It's a hypothetical question, of course, but who needs three swimming pools? One of those neat "endless pools" that you see advertised to your left, would do just fine, and would be very low maintenance. They are particularly suitable for the UK, where space is at a premium. (Do support our advertisers by the way - it's in a good cause. Commercial break over.) 

The 1920s-era pink stucco estate, which is set across 6.5 acres (2.6ha) north of Sunset Boulevard, featured in the film The Godfather.

But the estate is not the only US property awaiting a buyer who can afford a nine-figure price tag.

A 10-bedroom property in Montana's Big Sky country is on offer for $155m.

And former Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, is still seeking a buyer for his Hala Ranch compound in Aspen, Colorado, a year after it was first listed for sale for $135m.

If you're thinking of buying it, don't. Give the money to us instead.
Posted on 07/11/2007 3:40 AM by Mary Jackson

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Those of you who missed this excellent and very disturbing documentary about anti-Semitism in Britain can now see it on YouTube via Little Green Footballs.

It's a must.

Posted on 07/11/2007 3:25 AM by Mary Jackson

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
A senior British cleric has left Iraq suddenly after receiving death threats for attempting to secure the release of five British hostages seized in May.
Canon Andrew White, the Anglican vicar of Baghdad, was a friend of the men, who were kidnapped in May. His office at the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East said that he had “put a lot of time, effort, energy – everything he has – into their release”, before being forced to leave after a “serious security threat”.
Last week Canon White revealed that an al-Qaeda chief had boasted that it would use doctors in terror attacks in Britain. At talks with Sunni Muslim leaders in Jordan in April he was told that “those who cure you are going to kill you”. It was only after the bungled London and Glasgow bombings that he understood the message.
An Arabic newspaper said that Canon White, 42, had angered Iraqi militants by trying to find where the hostages were being held. Pamphlets branding him as “no more than a spy” have been circulated in Shia areas of Baghdad threatening to kill the five if he did not leave Iraq at once.
I didn’t make the obvious observation elsewhere that first Canon White would be ill advised to speak publicly about any information he may have given to the security Services and secondly that he has a duty to maintain a certain discretion to protect his own sources. I suspect that this particular threat, which he is taking seriously, is as much to do with the Doctor’s plot as it is the hostages. Unlike the Alan Johnson affair the news media are quiet about these 5 men, which I hope means that stuff is happening on their behalf which is too delicate to report upon yet.
Posted on 07/11/2007 3:18 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
One for our very own Hugh Fitzgerald. Christopher Howse in The Telegraph
Today is Clerihew Day, being the birthday of Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). He was 16 when he invented the verse form celebrated as the Clerihew.
His first example ran:
Sir Humphrey Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered Sodium.
In 1912, Bentley became a leader writer on The Daily Telegraph, staying for 22 years. He would have been generally forgotten had he not brought out a collection of Clerihews, called Biography for Beginners (with illustrations by G. K. Chesterton) in 1905, to be followed by More Biography (1929) and Baseless Biography in 1939. 
To write a god Clerihew is by no means as easy as it might seem . . . the first line must always end with the name of the subject. I’d be delighted if anyone can come up to scratch with a Clerihew for our times.
Posted on 07/11/2007 2:35 AM by ESmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
 Usually quoted when an old man is about to make a fool of himself with a young girl, but these days there is sexual equality. This particular old fool is younger than me, and is with a boy the same age as my God-children. Maturity does not necessarily come with age.
A British woman has married a son of Osama bin Laden after a holiday romance and is to apply for a visa so that he can visit Britain, The Times has learnt.
Jane Felix-Browne, a 51-year-old grandmother and parish councillor from Cheshire, has until now kept her marriage to Omar Ossama bin Laden, 27, secret from everyone apart from her immediate family and close friends. But she has now agreed to speak about her relationship with bin Laden’s fourth eldest son.
I have to be realistic about things,” she told The Times. “I hope people don’t judge me too harshly. I married the son, not the father.”
Mrs Felix-Browne says she is aware that some people will be hostile to her marriage. Among the numerous terrorist plots linked to her new father-in-law are the London suicide bombings on July 7, 2005, the July 21 plot, and the recent attempted attacks in London and Glasgow. “I just married the man I met and fell in love with – to me he is just Omar,” she said. “I hope that people will take a step back and think what it was like when they fell in love. He is the most beautiful person I have ever met. His heart is pure, he is pious, quiet, a true gentleman, and he is my best friend.”
Mrs Felix-Browne, who has been married five times previously, met Mr bin Laden in Egypt in September while undergoing treatment for multiple sclerosis. She says that their fairytale romance began when her future husband saw her riding a horse near the Great Pyramid. They were married in Islamic ceremonies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and are awaiting permission from the authorities in Riyadh to make their marriage official.
Mrs Felix-Browne already knew some members of the bin Laden family through her Islamic marriage to a Saudi man in London when she was 16. She believes that she actually met Osama bin Laden at a party in London in the 1970s.
Omar bin Laden left Saudi Arabia as a child when his father was expelled for his extremist beliefs, his wife said. Living in exile in Sudan and then Afghanistan, he saw at first hand the creation of al-Qaeda and its techniques. Mrs Felix-Browne said: “I never had any problem with his past. Omar did not do anything wrong. He was a child when he was in Afghanistan.”
She said that her husband left Afghanistan before the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. However, some reports claim that he split from his father only after the attack on New York and an argument about tactics.
Mrs Felix-Browne insisted: “He last saw his father in 2000 when they were both in Afghanistan. He left his father because he did not feel it was right to fight or to be in an army. Omar was training to be a soldier and he was only 19.
“He told me he has had no contact with his father since the day he left him. He misses his father. Omar doesn’t know if it was his father who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. I don’t think we will ever know.”
Apart from their religion the couple appear to have little in common. She has three sons and five grandchildren and is a respected parish councillor in the village of Moulton. This is “Parish” as the administrative unit of a village in the English countryside, not the administration of the Parish Church which is separate, although the name is similar.
He works as a scrap metal dealer in Jedda and is one of at least 17 children fathered by bin Laden. His father’s reputation means that he has been ostracised by the wealthy and powerful bin Laden family and is under surveillance by the security services in Saudi Arabia.
Mrs Felix-Browne, who now uses the Islamic name Zaina Mohamad, says that she speaks to her husband for several hours every day over the internet or by telephone.
She was aware before her marriage that her husband already had another wife and a two-year-old child. “I haven’t seen her but I have spoken to her for about an hour on the telephone,” she said. “She is fine about it.”  A sick woman past child bearing age, possible passport to the UK, what’s to dislike? 
Now she hopes that Mr bin Laden will come to Britain. “He would like to spend quite a bit of time here,” she said. “There is no reason why he should not come to live, but I don’t think he would like the weather.”
Thankfully because her marriage is polygamous it won’t be recognised in the UK and that should scupper her hopes of getting him into the country.
Posted on 07/11/2007 1:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Old things you never noticed before, that make you realise how much things have changed.
New things you see for the first time that make you realise how much things have changed.
 
The New.
Westminster Chapel is an evangelical church in an early Victorian building, and, as you can see from the No Smoking sign at the entrance fully Smoke Free England compliant. I am really looking forward to the Whitehall Christmas Carol service this year without all those Whitehall mandarins and their foul pipes or ministerial fat cats with their cigars puffing through the sermon.
I am always glad when one of my friends gives up smoking as it is so bad for them. What I object to is the imposition of “compliance” upon us all, such that even a church must display a sign, of a certain size, and exact colour, and wording.

 
The Old
Central Hall Westminster, a building overshadowed by the glory of Westminster Abbey but of great interest, contains a Methodist Church and a conference centre. I pass it several times a week and never noticed until today that in 1946 it was the place of the first meeting of the United Nations. There is another plaque above (which did not photograph) when Boutrous  Boutrous Galli marked the 50 years anniversary.
What went wrong with the UN?  61 years later I couldn’t imagine a similar prayer of thankfulness for peace gracing any new venture of theirs.

Posted on 07/10/2007 4:56 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Chicago Tribune: A Chicago federal jury weighing fraud charges against former Sun-Times publisher Conrad Black said today it was deadlocked.

"We have discussed and deliberated on all the evidence and are still unable to reach a unanimous verdict on one or more counts. Please advise," jurors wrote in a note to the U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve this afternoon.

In court, St. Eve responded by rereading a portion of the jury instructions which advised the panel to act in good faith and attempt to reach a verdict before sending the 9 women and 3 men back to the jury room to continue deliberations.

Tuesday was the ninth day of jury deliberations. The trial began March 20.

It is unclear if the jury has reached a conclusion on any of the 42 charges and four defendants before them.

Black faces 13 criminal charges, including racketeering and mail and wire fraud, tied to accusations that he and associated pocketed more than $60 million from non-compete agreements signed when his company Hollinger International Inc. sold several newspapers. If convicted, the 62-year-old member of the British House of Lords could spend the rest of his life in prison and forfeit much of his fortune.

Black has loudly proclaimed his innocence since he was first accused in 2005 of systematically looting the company he started nearly 40 years ago.

I know John will probably disgree, but I hope he gets off. Black wrote one of the best biographies of FDR ever - 1360 pages. He's no lightweight in any sense of the word.

Posted on 07/10/2007 4:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The Los Angeles Times joins the New Duranty Times and the Washington Post as Hamas propaganda organs by publishing this piece by Mousa Abu Marzook, a deputy of Hamas, which they call without irony, "the Islamic Resistance Movement" (thanks to Barry Rubin):

...As for the 1988 charter, if every state or movement were to be judged solely by its foundational, revolutionary documents or the ideas of its progenitors, there would be a good deal to answer for on all sides. The American Declaration of Independence, with its self-evident truth of equality, simply did not countenance (at least, not in the minds of most of its illustrious signatories) any such status for the 700,000 African slaves at that time; nor did the Constitution avoid codifying slavery as an institution, counting "other persons" as three-fifths of a man. Israel, which has never formally adopted a constitution of its own but rather operates through the slow accretion of Basic Laws, declares itself explicitly to be a state for the Jews, conferring privileged status based on faith in a land where millions of occupants are Arabs, Muslims and Christians.

The writings of Israel's "founders" — from Herzl to Jabotinsky to Ben Gurion — make repeated calls for the destruction of Palestine's non-Jewish inhabitants: "We must expel the Arabs and take their places." A number of political parties today control blocs in the Israeli Knesset, while advocating for the expulsion of Arab citizens from Israel and the rest of Palestine, envisioning a single Jewish state from the Jordan to the sea. Yet I hear no clamor in the international community for Israel to repudiate these words as a necessary precondition for any discourse whatsoever. The double standard, as always, is in effect for Palestinians.

I, for one, do not trouble myself over "recognizing" Israel's right to exist — this is not, after all, an epistemological problem; Israel does exist, as any Rafah boy in a hospital bed, with IDF shrapnel in his torso, can tell you. This dance of mutual rejection is a mere distraction when so many are dying or have lived as prisoners for two generations in refugee camps. As I write these words, Israeli forays into Gaza have killed another 15 people, including a child. Who but a Jacobin dares to discuss the "rights" of nations in the face of such relentless state violence against an occupied population? ...

Here is an interview Marzook (Marzouk) gave to Ikhwanweb via MEMRI:

Ikhwanweb: "There are statements attributed to Mr. Khaled Mesha’al indicating that Hamas will recognize Israel if it withdraws to the 1967 borders. Your comments?"

Abu Marzouk: "One of Hamas’s founding principals is that it does not recognize Israel. We [participated in] the elections and the people voted for us based on this platform. Therefore, the question of recognizing Israel is definitely not on the table unless it withdraws from ALL the Palestinian lands, not only to the 1967 borders. How can we be expected to recognize an occupying entity when millions of our people are refugees, and thousands of others are prisoners!? Why must we recognize them when they do not recognize us as a sovereign state with full independence?"

Posted on 07/10/2007 1:42 PM by Rebecca Bynum

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Which fast movin' American writer should this painting make you think of? Come to think of it, the painting sounds like one of his paragraphs.

Posted on 07/10/2007 1:23 PM by Mary Jackson


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